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‘Great night’ for Labour in Wales with Tory breakthrough hopes dashed

Gower, won by the Tories in 2015 after more than 100 years in Labour hands, returned to Labour.

The Labour Party in Wales is celebrating after a “fantastic” night saw them take three Welsh seats from the Conservatives as Theresa May’s party failed to achieve its hoped for breakthrough.

Jeremy Corbyn’s party won Gower, Vale of Clwyd and Cardiff North and secured their highest share of the vote for 20 years.

Professor Roger Scully, of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, said: “It is a fantastic result for the Welsh Labour Party.

“A month ago we were looking at them maybe suffering serious losses but they have actually made gains in Wales and it looks like they are going to have their highest vote share in Wales since 1997. That’s absolutely astonishing, it is an extraordinarily good night for the Welsh Labour Party.

“I think a very disappointing night for the Conservatives although this is the highest Conservative vote share in Wales since at least 1935, when we get the final figures on the last couple of seats; it may be the highest Conservative vote share since before World War One but they have actually lost seats.”

Gower, won by the Tories in 2015 after more than 100 years in Labour hands, was the most marginal seat in the country with a majority of 27 for Tory Byron Davies.

On Friday morning, Welsh Labour candidate Tonia Antoniazzi won 22,727 votes while Mr Davies got 19,458, a majority of 3,269.

Vale of Clwyd was another Conservative win in 2015, while Cardiff North has been held by Theresa May’s party since 2010.

The Conservatives also failed to take Wrexham, which they had hoped to win.

A Tory source said that result was “truly disappointing for the party in Wales and must be heartbreaking for Andy Atkinson, who campaigned with all his heart for that seat”.

In total the Labour Party won 28 of Wales’ 40 seats, an increase of three on their total in the 2015 general election.

The Conservatives took eight seats, down three on their result two years ago while Plaid Cymru managed to hang on to its three seats, holding its marginal seat of Arfon by just 92 votes, plus winning Ceredigion from Lib Dems, wiping them out from Wales for the first time.

The West Wales seat was the last in the country to be declared at 6.15am with a majority of 104 for the nationalists.

Party leader, Leanne Wood, said Plaid had matched its best ever performance in a Westminster election and had “bucked the trend and made a gain while other parties have made heavy losses”.

Prof Scully said: “Plaid Cymru have had a pretty bad night except that they have held their three seats, only just in one case and they’re making the one gain, Ceredigion and Lib Dems have been wiped off the map, which has never happened before in Wales.

“We thought 2015 was as bad as it could get for the Lib Dems in Wales but we now know differently.”

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A Welsh Labour spokesman said the party had had a “great night” and had secured their highest share of the vote since 1997.

He said: “Given that at the beginning of the campaign polls put us 10 points behind and losing more than 10 seats, this is a remarkable turnaround, and shows the strength of our Welsh Labour campaign.”

He added that it was “clear that the Tories are having a terrible night in Wales”.

“They are not just failing to take seats, they are losing them, and seeing majorities slashed elsewhere.”

Prof Scully added that the Welsh Conservative campaign “was not particularly impressive” but “primarily” it was not so much a Conservative failure as it was a success for Labour.

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